Judging from the amount of political email I’ve been receiving, Democrats are running scared, afraid they will lose the 2022 midterm elections. Dems fear that they’ll squander a historic opportunity to put America on the right course. Fortunately, it appears that Joe Biden knows what he is doing and he’s determined to make job creation the centerpiece of his presidency
If you missed President Biden’s April 28th joint address to Congress (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/04/28/remarks-as-prepared-for-delivery-by-president-biden-address-to-a-joint-session-of-congress/ ), you probably didn’t hear that he mentioned “jobs” 43 times. He began by acknowledging that his Administration has created 1.3 million jobs in his first 100 days in office. He went on to extol his “American Jobs Plan” and observe: “20 million Americans lost their jobs in the pandemic – working- and middle-class Americans. At the same time, the roughly 650 Billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 Trillion… My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked. It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle-out. A broad consensus of economists – left, right, center – agree that what I’m proposing will help create millions of jobs and generate historic economic growth.”
Heading into the 2022 midterm elections, Biden’s focus is on three issues: overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, creating millions of good-paying jobs, and strengthening healthcare. This agenda should be achievable in the Democratically-controlled 117th Congress. It will give Democrats strong momentum going into the 2022 midterms.
The 2010 and 2018 midterms saw a shift in the House of Representatives. Democrats are worried that could happen in 2022. In 2010, Democrats lost the House because of Republican “Tea Party” scare tactics centered on the Affordable Care Act — most Republicans ran on the promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” in 2018, Republicans lost the House because Democrats mobilized to take back Congress to check Trump,
Heading into 2022, Republicans seem to be assuming that they will once again take back the house because of the unstoppable tide of political precedent and the anger of Trump voters. In many states, Republicans are trying to “prime the pump” by gerrymandering and voter suppression.
Ignoring the notion of “unstoppable political precedent,” Republicans are counting on angry Trump voters turning out in record numbers to take back the House. There are two problems with this notion. The first is idea that Republicans will turn out because they are either angry because Trump lost in 2020 or because they don’t like what Biden and the Dems have been doing. The second problem is that it is assumes that the voters that Trump brought out in 2020 will show up in 2022.
In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump got 74 million votes — an unprecedented number for a losing candidate but still 7 million less than Joe Biden. Will these same Republican voters show up in 2022? It seems unlikely for two reasons. First, in 2020 Trump attracted “low-propensity” voters. According to Democratic pollsters (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/byron-yorks-daily-memo-democratic-pollsters-acknowledge-we-darn-near-lost ): “We found our models consistently overestimated Democratic turnout relative to Republican turnout in a specific way… Among low propensity voters — people who we expect to vote rarely — the Republican share of the electorate exceeded expectations at four times the rate of the Democratic share. This turnout error meant, at least in some places, we again underestimated relative turnout among rural and white non-college voters, who are overrepresented among low propensity Republicans.” Of course, in 2022, Trump will not be on the ballot; therefore, it’s unlikely that these Republican low-propensity voters will show up.
Second, there was a unique combination of circumstances in 2020; including attitudes about the pandemic, GOP enthusiasm for Trump, and the absence of a Democratic “ground game” — because of the pandemic. In 2022, the circumstances will change. Democrats will again have their ground game. And, they are more likely to be enthusiastic than Republicans. A recent Morning Consult poll (https://morningconsult.com/2021/04/14/voter-enthusiasm-2022-midterms-polling/ ) found that 9 percent enthusiasm advantage among Democrats. (Notably, 31 parent of Trump voters were not enthusiastic.)
By the way: a recent ABC News/Ipsos Poll ( https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/country-optimistic-bidens-1st-100-days-poll/story?id=77440236) found that 64 percent of respondents were “optimistic” about the direction of the country — the highest optimism rating in 15 years.
My contention is that as long as Democrats deliver on the three big issues — overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, creating millions of good-paying jobs, and strengthening healthcare — they should prevail in 2022. An election is not solely determined by messaging, but messaging is important. If Democrats stay on the Biden train, they will have positive messaging, In contrast, Republicans do not have a clear message. They cannot prevail with “Trump was cheated” — by the way, Trump’s popularity is falling; a recent NBC news poll (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/after-100-days-out-office-trump-s-support-softens-nbc-n1265457) found “His ratings among all adults stands at 32 percent favorable, 55 percent unfavorable.” And, at the moment, the GOP has no “go to” message.
For the next 18 months, Biden and congressional Democrats have one task: focus on the creation of good jobs.